The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885)


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Slouschz was an devoted follower of Herzl and the Zionist movement. Slouschz established branches of the movement in Odessa and wrote at length about the Jewish question. He attended the Second Zionist Congress at Basel as a delegate and correspondent. In he studied belles-lettres and philosophy at the University of Geneva. During this time, he helped to found the Swiss Federation of Zionists. In he went to Paris, where he studied Oriental languages. He earned a livelihood as correspondent of several newspapers, among them Ha-Melitz and Ha-Tsefirah. In , he worked as a teacher in Auteuil.

He completed his doctorate at the University of Paris in on the subject of the renaissance of Hebrew literature. His thesis was published first in French and then revised and extended for publication in Hebrew under the title "Korot ha-Sifrut ha-Ivrit ha-Hadasha. In , he lectured on Neo-Hebraic literature at the University of Paris. In he immigrated to Palestine.

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USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview The Renascence of Hebrew Literature By Nahum Slouschz It was long believed that Hebrew had no place among the modern languages as a literary vehicle. The circumstance that the Jews of Western countries had given up the use of their national language outside of the synagogue was not calculated to discredit the belief.

The Hebrew, it was generally held, had once been alive, but now it belonged among the dead languages, in the same sense as the Greek and the Latin. And when from time to time some new work in Hebrew, or even a periodical publication, reached a library, the cataloguer classified it with theologic and Rabbinic treatises, without taking the trouble to obtain information as to the subject of the book or the purpose of the journal. In point of fact, in the large majority of cases they were far enough removed from Rabbinic controversy.

We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades.

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Product Details About the Author. He was known for his studies of the "secret" Jews of Portugal and Jews living in remote areas in Africa. Nahum Slouschz was born in Smarhon and raised in Odessa. He studied at a local school and was tutored in Jewish studies by his father. At nineteen, he was sent to Palestine by the Hovevei Zion Society of Odessa to explore possibilities of founding a colony in the Holy Land. He was not successful and returned home. The Hebrew language he cherished with ardent and exalted love. Is it not a beautiful language and admirable? Is it not the last relic saved from the shipwreck in which all the national possessions of our people were lost?

And is not he, Lebensohn himself, the heir to the prophets, the poet laureate and high priest to the holy language? With what pride he unveils the state of his soul to us: "I am seated at the table of God, and with my hand I guide His pen; and my hand writes the language holy unto Him, the language of His Law, the language of His people, Selah!

O God, arouse, awake my spirit, for is it not Thy holy language wherein I sing unto Thee? For a love song or a poem in praise of nature, he thought it necessary only to copy the German authors and link together a series of pointed verses. The poem "David and Bath-sheba" is a failure. His descriptions of nature are dry and artificial.

He was never able to account for what was happening under his eyes and around him. Events produced an effect upon him out of all proportion to their importance. The military and civic reforms of Nicholas I, he celebrated in an ode, in which he applied the enthusiastic praise "Henceforth Israel will see only good! When some Jewish banker or other was appointed consul-general in the Orient, he welcomed the occurrence in dithyrambic verses, dedicated to the poor fellow in the name of the Jews of Lithuania and White Russia. But whenever the heart of our poet beats in unison with the sentiments of his Jewish brethren, whenever he surrenders himself to the sadness, the peculiar melancholy, that pervades Jewish relations, then he attains to moral heights and lyric vigor unsurpassed.

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In his three volumes of poetry, by the side of numerous worthless pieces, we meet many gems of style and thought. The distressed cry of humanity against the wretchedness under which it staggers, the sorrowful protest man makes against the lack of compassion he encounters in his fellow, his obstinate refusal to understand the implacable cruelty of nature when she snatches his dearest from him, and his impotence in the presence of death—these are the subjects that have inspired Lebensohn's best efforts.

He insists constantly, Is not pity the daughter of heaven? Do we not find her among beasts even, and among reptiles? Man alone is a stranger to her, and he makes himself the tyrant of his neighbor. But it is not man alone who refuses to know this daughter of heaven, Nature denies pity, too, and shows herself relentless: "O world!


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House of mourning, valley of weeping! Thy rivers are tears, and thy soil ashes. Upon thy surface thou bearest men that mourn, and in thy bowels the corpses of the dead From out of the mountains covered with snow and ice comes forth a chariot with none to guide. Within sits man and the wife of his bosom, beautiful as a flower, and at their knees play sweet children.

They journey on, and they go astray, and perish on the icy fields. In another poem, entitled "The Weeping Woman", his subject is pity again. He cries out: "Thy enemy [cruelty] is stronger than thou. If thou art a burning fire, she is a current of icy water! Alas for thee, O pity!

Where is he that will have pity upon thee? The lot of the Hamlets and of the Renes is more enviable than that of the "Mourner" of the ghetto. They at least taste of life before becoming a prey to melancholy and delivering themselves up to pessimism. They know the charms of living and its vexations.

The disappointed son of the ghetto lays no stress on gratifications and pleasures. In the name of the supreme moral law he sets himself up for a pessimistic philosopher. The grave is at the very threshold of life, it awaits us not far from the womb of our mother She stands firm, unshaken. We alone are changeable, and help there is none for us, no refuge, nor may we decline to come hither.

The Renascence of Hebrew Literature () : Nahum Slouschz :

Like an angler of fish, the world brings us up on a hook. Before it has finished devouring one generation, the next is ready for its fate. One is swallowed up, the other snatched away. Whence cometh our help? The heavenly host is joined by thy fellow-man. From the wrath of man, O man, thou wilt never escape.

His jealousy of thee will last for aye, until thou art no more!

The renascence of Hebrew literature (1743-1885)

Their very name and memory have disappeared. And in the generation to come, we, too, shall be forgotten. And who escapes his lot? Not a single one of us all. None is secure from death.

Wealth, wisdom, strength, beauty, all are nothing, nothing Myself I would return to nothing with the rest of mankind. Know not the living that the grave will swallow them up after a life of sadness and cruel misery? See they not that the whole of human life is like the flash that goes before the fatal thunderbolt? And the end of the matter is that "man has nothing but the consciousness of sorrow; he is naked and starved, feeble and without energy. His soul desires all that he has not, and so he longs and languishes day and night. Sometimes he permits himself to sing of the misery of his people as such.

The weakest of his verses are, nevertheless, those in which he expresses longing for Jerusalem. A great misfortune befell Lebensohn. The premature death of his son, the young poet Micah Joseph, the centre of many and legitimate hopes, extorted cries of distress and despair from him. Who is it that hath banished my lyre from my abode? Who hath shattered my heart, and brought me lamentation? Who hath with one blow blasted my hopes? Between him and his contemporary, the haughty recluse Alfred de Vigny, there is not a little resemblance.

Needless to say that Lebensohn had no acquaintance whatsoever with the works of the French poet.

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The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885) The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885)
The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885) The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885)
The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885) The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885)
The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885) The Renascence of Hebrew Literature (1743-1885)

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